You finally did it! You've worked hard, had a 5-year plan, sacrificed time, friends and family. All of your goal setting and dedication finally payed off, and you landed the promotion or title you've always wanted. It's what you've been dreaming about since you started working for this company. And then it turns out to be a nightmare.

Sadly, this situation is more common that you might think. Maybe you've fanaticized about a position for years, talked about a promotion with your boss at length, or finally got funding for the project you've been trying to put together. Anytime you attach the idea of "dream scenario" to anything, it has the potential to drastically backfire. According to Dan Gilbert, Psychology professor at Harvard University, we often predict what we think will make us happy, because our prefrontal cortex allows us to think into the future. However, what we think will make us happy often doesn't.

Which is why it's not uncommon to imagine what your perfect job would be and then discover that what you thought was perfect, isn't. Firstly, no job, position, or project is perfect, and often we'll stay in an unhealthy and miserable situation because we're attached to how "perfect" or sought after they seem. When you find yourself in this situation, it's important to focus on why this is the wrong job for YOU. Ask yourself the below questions to get really honest with yourself so you can find the success you're craving.

Are you Challenged?

You must be challenged in order to love your work...challenged in a good way. To operate in The  Zone, you need to feel challenged in a way that energizes you. It's not too easy, but it's also hard enough that it engages all of your mind and requires focused attention to tackle.

How are having an impact on others that's meaningful to you?

Everyone knows that in order to perform well you need to be intrinsically motivated. Which means that your motivation is coming from within yourself, not from external rewards. This is simply knowing, and having, a personal connection to the impact that you are having on others or in the world.

Do you feel joy?

You must enjoy the actual work you're doing rather than counting on the achievement of your goals for a burst of excitement. There is nothing wrong with celebrating achievements, but when those achievements become your only excitement for work, it's a sign that there is more joy to be had.

Have you checked in with yourself?

Slowing down and being more aware of yourself and what's working and not working for you is essential for every aspect of success. Without mindfulness, you can't know who you are and get to the root cause of any work issues that have you feeling anxious.

Do you embrace failures and keep going?

Perseverance is critical in becoming successful over the long term. Seeing failures as something to celebrate and get curious about is one of the absolutes in becoming whoever it is you want to be. All jobs will present opportunities to fail, but you'll know it's right for you if you never want to give up and you take each failure as an opportunity for growth and learning.  

Published on: Apr 22, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.